Where do I begin? I suppose I could start by thanking the folks who busted their butts to make today such a success (Jess, Jen, Brent, Zaniah) but I did that multiple times today. I suppose I could thank the “Baby Band” for rockin’ the joint and causing the alumni to smile, laugh, and in many, many cases, cry tears of joy mixed with memory. I supposed I could thank the staff for always having my back. I supposed I could thank Jim Ancona for sticking by my side for 20 years and always starting a conversation with “You know, next year…”
Or I could recount some of the sites I saw throughout the day that captured and warmed my heart:
- alumni from almost every year I’ve been at the helm;
- alumni from every decade since the 1960’s;
- children of alumni ranging in age from 10 years old down to “just born!”
- alumni whose names did not escape my mind for the first time ever!
Watching people cross the generation gap and make new friends in their sections was priceless. They had different college band directors but it didn’t matter: everyone was part of the family and everyone needed to be hugged and cherished.
I saw many things today…I heard so many stories being recounted and shared. I looked out over the sea of people during “In My Life” and was not overwhelmed with tearful emotion…I was overwhelmed with joy. So many faces that brought me back to easier times.
One thing I saw that I did not bring attention to because 1) I did not need to point it out as it spoke for itself, and 2) I would have struggled holding it together, were the people who chose to wear their GNP ribbons from 2010. I do not believe I have ever been more touched by such a simple gesture in my life. He was in our band in the 70’s and he was and will continue to always be part of our program. Thank you to the folks who chose to do that–meant more to me than you’ll ever know.
Life does not ever turn out the way you envisioned it. Life is not something that can be organized, put in a little box and wrapped with a perfect bow. Life is messy (as my dear friends are desperately trying to get me to understand!). No one knew in 1995 that two crazy kids (and boy were Jim and I really just kids!) were going to hang around Newark, DE for as long as we have. No one knew whether the band would benefit or collapse. No one knew what the future would bring…we always think we know but in truth, we are at the mercy of whatever comes along.
UD is my last stop. This is home. The UDMB is my family. And I look forward to every year when my family members will come home and spend a few hours with this old woman…when we can join together for just a few moments and be kids again…together.
Thank you all for a wonderful 20th anniversary celebration.